Monday, October 13, 2014

FAQ: Muscadine varieties incorrectly labeled and few fruit produced

I planted 4 muscadine vines Feb.2012,they were 2 years old, one black jumbo,black loomis, one black southland and one bronze magnolia scuppernong. In 2013 each vine had a few fruit to mature but they all were bronze, none were black. I pruned them this year and I saw lots of very small fruit. They slowly started drying up. I only harvested three fruit. What could be my Problem? Please help! 
Well, it's obvious that you did not get what you thought you bought, otherwise you would have had red grapes on the Loomis and black on the Jumbo and Southland. If the ones labeled Loomis, Jumbo and Southland were not actually Loomis, Jumbo and Southland, it's possible the Magnolia wasn't a Magnolia. In any case, there's no telling what varieties you have.

Here are my thoughts:

You're not going to get many fruit from very young vines, even if you have a good mix of female and self-fertile varieties.

Are you sure the "very small fruit" you saw drying up were actually fruit and not flowers? Sometimes the flowers are mistaken for very small fruit. If flowers dried and fell, it's possible they were never pollinated. Since you don't know what you have, it's possible you don't have a pollinator (self-fertile variety) in the whole bunch. If you have no pollinator, yet had a few fruit, the pollination could have come from wild muscadine vines out in the woods or even from a distant neighbor's property.

If what dried and fell were, indeed, small fruits, they may have fallen off due to dry conditions, fungus encouraged by wet conditions, or magnesium deficiency in the soil. If you observed  yellowing between the  veins of the leaves, you probably have magnesium deficiency. Take a soil sample to your local Cooperative Extension office for testing. You can correct mag deficiency by applying epsom salt at approx. 4 oz. per vine broadcast evenly at approx. 4 to 5 sq. foot area.

Find your local Cooperative Extension office using this interactive map:

I hope this helps.

Nuthouse Farms Brings Back The American Chestnut

Though this has nothing to do with growing fruit in your backyard, it is about something else just as interesting to backyard fruit growers: NUTS.

I visited Nuthouse Farms early this year for a private tour, and was very impressed. I may write about my visit another time, but for now I'm posting a link to an article I think you'll find to be very interesting.

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